Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mae West: Joseph Wood Krutch

The Nation published the article "In Defense of MAE WEST" written by Joseph Wood Krutch [1893 — 1970] in their issue dated for Wednesday, 30 September 1931.  
• • The erudite columnist appreciated Mae's "personality" and, though he felt her current play was "simple-minded, lurid, and crude," he emphasized that it was better than many other plays "because it is at least not dull with that discouraging, anemic dullness characteristic of half the respectable plays produced on Broadway.  It is dramatically as sound and intellectually as respectable as a play like Belasco's 'Lulu Belle' which ran for a year in one of our temples of art."  Krutch concluded "if someone will arise to proclaim in appropriate style that 'they ain't done right by our Mae,' I, for one, will whistle and stamp my feet."
• • Many writers agreed with Mr. Krutch, who applauded Mae West as an antidote to Mrs. Grundy and Anthony Comstock.
• • Here's an excerpt from one reaction printed in the Harvard Crimson: Joseph Wood Krutch defending Mae West in a recent issue of "The Nation" was the author of some extremely pertinent remarks concerning that simple-hearted lady, remarks which bear on certain aspects of American culture which cannot be emphasized too much. Mentioning the play, written and acted by Miss West, as sound though crude dramaturgy, he went on from the play ["The Constant Sinner"] to criticise the audience.
• • American audiences in general and Mae West's audiences in particular have a unique and proverbial capacity for smut. As Mr. Krutch pointed out, this capacity is also shared by adolescents. Mr. Smoot of Utah probably knows more about pornographic literature than any living American, or European. However, in spite of this hearty endorsement, it cannot be repeated too often that this capacity and this knowledge is not a prime requisite for holiness. Hunger, not holiness, must be the explanation of this strange preoccupation with sex in its cruder forms.  ...
• • Fitzroy Davis [27 February 1912 — 30 September 1980] • •
• • One of Mae West's least favorite motion pictures was "The Heat's On" [1943].
• • It was Fitzroy Davis who got screenwriting credit for this mish-mash, a film so disjointed and disappointing that The New York Times review led off with this sally: "The heat is definitely off!"
• • Fitzroy Davis, an odd hyphenation of actor-singer-novelist, was born in Evanston, Illinois in the month of February — — on 27 February 1912. He made his stage debut in November 1935 in Chicago. A minor walk-on role was available for a "Romeo and Juliet" production starring Katharine Cornell as young Juliet. By 1942 his first novel Quicksilver had appeared in print. This roman a clef deals with a road company touring the USA in "Romeo and Juliet." There are four gay characters in the story including the lead actress. Hmmm. During the 1960s, Fitzroy Davis penned articles for gay publications in Switzerland using the pen name Hadrian.
• • Fitzroy Davis died in Putnam, Connecticut on Tuesday, 30 September 1980.  He was 68.
• • On Saturday, 30 September 1911 • •
• • On Friday, 22 September 1911, 18-year-old Mae West was in the spotlight. On that date, "A La Broadway" had opened at the Folies-Bergere Theatre, New York, NY. This short-lived revue (produced in an expensive venue) closed on Saturday night, 30 September 1911.
• • Variety noted on September 30th: "Folies Bergere Experiment Reaching an End."
• • On Sunday, 30 September 1934 • •
• • Andre Sennwald wrote an article "Lines for a Mae West Scrapbook." It was published in The New York Times on Sunday, 30 September 1934.
• • On Saturday, 30 September 1944 • •
• • On Saturday, 30 September 1944 Mae West, who was playing the Empress of Russia, moved her show "Catherine Was Great" from the Shubert Theatre to the Royale, the playhouse that had originally welcomed Diamond Lil and her boisterous Bowery hijinx in 1928.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I did not change my way of life. I harmed no one. I had a philosophy, an idea of how to live fully and in my way.  I believed in it as fully and as strongly as I believed in being an American."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the Oscars mentioned Mae West.
• • The N.Y. Times wrote: Mae West and Rock Hudson stole the interlude, if not the entire show, with their suggestive singing." ...
• • Source: The N.Y. Times; published on 27 March 1958
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2443rd blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • with Arthur Vinton onstage, 1931
• •
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